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TITUS ANDRONICUS. (1)
A C T I.
SC.EN E, before the Capitol in ROME.
Enter the Tribunes and Senators aloft, as in the Senate.
Enter Saturninus and his followers, at one door ; and Bassianus and his followers, at the other, with Drum and Colours.
And countrymen, my loving followers,
(1) Titus Andronicus.] This is one of those plays, which I have always thought, with the better judges, ought not to be acknowledg’d in the list of Shakespeare's genuine pieces. And, perhaps, I may give a proof to strengthen this opinion, that may put the matter out of question. Ben Johnson in the induction to his Bartholomery. Fair, (which made its first appearance in the year 1614) couples Jeronymo and Andronicus together in reputation, and speaks of them as plays then of twenty-five or thirty years ftanding. Consequently, Andronicus must have been on the stage, before Shakespeare left Warwickshire to come and reside in London : and I never heard it fo much as intimated, that he had turned his genius to stage-writing, before he affociated with the players, and became one of their body. However, that he afterwards introduced it a-new on the scene, with
I am the first-born son of him, that last
Baf. Romans, friends, foll'wers, favourers of my right,
Enter Marcus Andronicus aloft, with the Crown.
Mar. Princes, that strive by. factions, and by friendsg
deferts to Rome.
This cause of Rome, and chastised with arms
Oar enemies pride. Five times he hath return'd
deserts in peace and humbleness.
Baf. Marcus Andronicus, so I do affie
[They go up into the Senate-house.
Enter a Captain.
From whence he circumscribed with his fword,
cus: after them, two men bearing a coffin cover'd with black; then Quintus and Lucius. After them, Titus Andronicus; and then Tamora, the Queen of Goths, Alarbus, Chiron, and Demetrius, with Aaron the Moor, prisoners; Soldiers, and other Attendants. They set down the coffin, and Titus speaks.
Tit. Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds! (2) Lo, as the bark, that hath discharg'd her freight, Returns with precious lading to the bay, From whence at first she weigh'd her anchorage ; Cometh Andronicus with laurel boughs, To re-falute his country with his tears; Tears of true joy for his return to Rome. Thou great defender of this capitol, Stand gracious to the rites that we intend! Romans, of five and twenty valiant sons, Half of the number that King Priam had, Behold the poor remains, alive and dead! These, that survive, let Rome reward with love; These, that I bring unto their latest home, With burial among their ancestors. Here Goths have given me leave to sheath my
sword: Titus, unkind, and careless of thine own, Why suffer'ft thou thy fons, unburied yet, To hover on the dreadful shore of Styx? Make way to lay them by their brethren.
[They open the tomb. (2) Hail, Rome, victorious in thy mourning weeds ! ] Mr. Ware burton and I concurred to suspect that the Poet wrote ;
in my mourning weeds. j. e. Titus would say; “ Thou, Rome, art victorious, though I am
a mourner for those fons which I have lost in obtaining that « victory.” But I have not ventured to disturb the text; because, on a second reflection, mourning weeds may relate to Rome for this reason; the fcene opens with Saturninus and Baffianus canvalling to be elected to the Empire: and consequently the state might be in grief for their last Emperor juft deceased,
There greet in silence, as the dead are wont,
sons of mine haft thou in store, That thou wilt never render to me more ?
Luc. Give us the proudest prisoner of the Gothri
Tit. I give him you, the noblest that survives.
Tam. Stay, Roman brethren, gracious conquerors Victorious Titus, rue the tears I Thed, A mother's tears in passion for her fon : And if thy fons were ever dear to thee, O, think my sons to be as dear to me. Sufficeth not, that we are brought to Rome, (3) To beautify thy triumphs and return, Captive to thee and to thy Roman yoke? But must my fons be slaughter'd in the streets , For valiant doings in their country's cause? 0! if to fight for King and common-weal
1 Were piety in thine, it is in these : Andronicus, ftain not thy tomb with blood. Wilt thou draw near the nature of the gods? Draw near them then in being merciful; Sweet mercy is nobility's true badge.
(3) Suficeth not, that we are brought to Rome, To beautify thy Triumphs, and return
Captive to thee and to thy Roman poke?] It is evident, as this Paliage has his herto been pointed, none of the editors understood the true Meaning. If Tamora and her Family return captive to Rome, they must have been before prisoners of war to the Romans : and that is more than what is hinted, or suppos’d, any where in the play, But the truth is, return is not a Verb but a Substantive; and relates: to Titus and not to Tamora: The regulation I have given the texty I dare warrant, restores the Author's intention. To beautify thy triumphs and return.